Steel City Treasure Hunt 

Had fun last Saturday, searching for treasures round the Sheffield charity shops with my friend Zaz!


Zaz came over from Stockport for the day so I laid on a special guided tour around my favourite charity shops in Woodseats, Crookes and Broomhill. We found some really random things, such as these delightful framed ‘Canals’ and ‘Trees’ pictures! Weird or wot?

Charity shop randomness

Check out this excellent decoupage dog. And also the unusual artwork (bottom right) …I still can’t work out what it is!

Charity shop madness

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good handmade card, and this is one of the finest I’ve ever seen. It was only 45p.

The Gratitude Otters

We went to Rileys & Co for lunch. I’ve been loads of times before but I’d never tried their cake.

The entrance to Rileys & Co. on Farrar Road

…The cake did not disappoint! I chose the carrot one and can recommend it highly. Zaz had a cheesecake which she also said was excellent.

In and around Rileys & Co.

I like how all the menus in Rileys cafe are pegged inside vintage books. This was the one on our table…

Num Num and his funny family

There are so many cool things in Rileys…vintage and retro homewares, clothes and accessories, antiques, paintings and artwork, plus a selection of locally handmade crafts.

Zaz in Rileys & Co.

Rileys also has a cool outdoor toilet. A proper old-fashioned one at the bottom of the garden! I love it!

Backyard toilet

There’s a retro mod cafe next door called Okeh Cafe. It has a jukebox and amazing 50s diner interior. Sometimes there are loads of cool scooters parked outside.

Me outside Okeh Cafe (next to Rileys & Co.)

Here are some of my treasures collected over the course of the day. The Dallas Simpson print and funny owl coasters are destined for the Magic Town Midway shop, but I don’t think I can bring myself to part with the brown bear money-box!

Dallas Simpson print, drunken owl coasters and brown bear money-box with googly eyes.

Also look at these amazing things Zaz gave me. A soap with a frog from Bomb Cosmetics, and the best bottle opener ever! Yes, a seal. Thanks Zaz!

Seal with a bow, and frog soap.

Sheffield Antiques Quarter

Rileys & Co




Happy New Ear!

I picked up some vintage fuzzy felt just before Christmas, and even though it was destined for the Magic Town Midway Etsy shop, I couldn’t wait to have a little play! I had quite a few fuzzy felt sets when I was little and spent hours creating stuff! This is the ‘Play School’ edition and the sheet inside is dated 1960. It’s in pretty good nick considering how old it is. The only problem was that I couldn’t find enough Y’s in the box to complete my New Year’s message for Instagram! Oh well! It still looks good anyway don’t you think?!

Happy New Ear!

I love the graphics on the box, and some of the instructions on the sheet are so dated it’s ridiculous. The sheet refers only to a male child throughout!? I do love all the little pictures of the full range of fuzzy felt sets on the other side though, it makes me wish I had all of them!

Play School Fuzzy – Felt
More fuzzy – felts! Love the ballet and jungle ones best.

If you love fuzzy felt too, this set is available from the Magic Town Midway Etsy shop, and not only that, but you can save 30% off the usual price until the end of January. Hooray! Happy New Ear!

Visit the shop for more photos and info – Vintage Fuzzy – Felt


Etsy Made Local Sheffield 2017

I had a great time at the Etsy Made Local Christmas market earlier this month! It was a two-day event running from the 2nd – 3rd December and was organised by Sophie, Jayne and Rob from the Etsy Sheffield Team. It was the first fair I’d done in ages, so I was really excited about it.

In and around the Cutlers’ Hall

The market took place at the Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield city centre. I’d never been inside before. It’s so ornate, I really loved it. You wouldn’t think it was so grand from the outside.

Stained glass window at Cutlers’ Hall

All the previous fairs I’ve done have been craft fairs or trade shows selling greeting cards, so it was my first outing into the real world with Magic Town Midway.

This way for Etsy Made Local

It was good to meet customers face to face and find out which sort of things seemed to sell and which didn’t. I was surprised that I sold very few of the Christmas items I took for some reason, even though there was a very festive vibe and Christmas songs playing all day to get people in the mood! You can never tell what will take people’s fancy though! Here I am at my stall…

The Magic Town Midway stall!

Of course I took way too much stuff with me, and had the same amount of stock again under the table in boxes!

Vintage things! That Mike Read mug didn’t go!

One of the items which attracted the most attention was this celery jar. Lots of people picked it up and said things like ‘No wayyyy my Great Aunt Mary had one of those!’. The little squirrel nutkin brush seen below was also a firm favourite with everyone who saw him, although he didn’t manage to find a home.

Mr Celery, Squirrel Nutkin, Crazy Clown and Fruit Cat, guarding the stall.

Here’s a brilliant photo by Heather Isobel Photography of the Etsy Sheffield stallholders, gathered on the grand staircase just before we opened on the Saturday morning.

The Etsy Sheffield Team, photo by Heather Isobel Photography

And this is my photo.. taken all the way from the back of the group!

My photo of Heather taking the photo of us!

The main hall was very grand and perfect for a Christmas market. It got very busy, especially on the Saturday.

The main hall. My stall is on the right hand side. Photo by Heather Isobel Photography

Rob manning the stall…

Customers browsing at my stall! My assistant Rob stands by, ready to, well, assist.

I love this next photo! So happy that Mr. Celery found a new home in time for Xmas! 🙂

The lovely customer who bought Mr. Celery from my stall. Photo by Heather Isobel Photography

There are so many talented artists and makers in the team, not to mention vintage sellers too! Check out the Sheffield Sellers on Etsy site here for more info and links to all the traders who took part in this year’s event.

Look at these beauties I got from fellow vintage seller Laura at Grey Day Vintage. Aren’t they fab! Loads more cool things in her shop too, so have a look!

Fun things from Grey Day Vintage

Hopefully there will be another Etsy Made Local hosted in Sheffield next Christmas. Follow the Facebook page to stay tuned, and for info on events running throughout the year.


Etsy Made Local – Cutlers’ Hall Sheffield

Getting pretty excited here as only a week to go until this…

Etsy Made Local – Sheffield!

It’s going to be a fun and festive two-day market, taking place on the 2nd and 3rd of December at the magnificent Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield city centre (opposite the Cathedral). The market is one of 40+ Etsy Made Local fairs taking place up and down the country on the same weekend, giving people the chance to shop directly from local Etsy sellers in person, and just in time for Christmas too! The EML at the Cutlers’ Hall is being hosted by the Sheffield Sellers on Etsy team, and will feature over 70 stalls selling arts, crafts, handmade and vintage.

Add yourself to the official Facebook event – Etsy Made Local 2017

Here is a full list of Etsy Markets taking place on the first weekend of December – find one local to you!

This is the first time I’m taking part in an EML fair, and I can’t wait! I’ll be bringing as much Magic Town Midway stock as I can fit in my car, including some fine vintage bric-a-brac and old-fashioned homeware, quirky curios, toys and books, and a selection of greeting cards (both my own designs and some vintage ones too)! There will be lots of cool stuff, perfect for unique Christmas prezzies, and I might even manage to squeeze in some exclusive new stock which hasn’t even made it to my Etsy shop yet!

There will be some amazingly talented local artists and craftspeople selling at Cutlers’ Hall, so if you want to plan ahead and decide which stalls to visit then follow the link for a full list of traders for both days – Traders List, EML2017.

There’s also a very handy Etsy Sheffield Christmas gift guide to give you a bit of inspiration if you need it!

Sheffield Sellers Etsy Handy Xmas Gift Guide!

🎄Etsy Christmas Gift guide🎄

Ooh and I nearly forgot to say, there will be a fully licensed bar and cafe open at the Cutlers’ Hall for the duration of the weekend, and entry to the fair is FREE! Yeahhh! So put the date in your diaries, and hope to see some of you there!

EML information

Here are some ways of keeping up to date with Etsy Sheffield news…

Sheffield Sellers on Etsy website

Etsy Sheffield Facebook Page

Etsy Sheffield on Twitter

Etsy Sheffield on Instagram




A few weeks back I took part in Inktober, a drawing challenge started by American artist Jake Parker in 2009. He set himself the task of coming up with a new pen & ink drawing every day in October to help develop positive drawing habits & improve his inking skills. Since then the challenge has evolved somewhat into a big thing and thousands of artists all over the world join in every year, posting their efforts daily on Instagram.

Inktober logo

More info on Inktober here – The Inktober Initiative

I noticed lots of Inktober stuff happening on Instagram last year, and on October 1st I decided on a whim to give it a go this time! I used to draw a lot when I was younger, yet don’t seem to get round to it much anymore. As a kid I’d start drawing without considering whether it was going right or wrong… now if I start something with the intention of it being a proper drawing and not just a random doodle, I seem to overthink what I’m doing and how it’s going to turn out, and sometimes I just don’t start at all! Why does that happen as you get older?!

There are a list of official prompts which get released every year, which I stuck to only occasionally.

Official Rules
Official Prompt List for 2017

Mainly I just went with the flow and drew whatever came to mind. I decided to stick with the first idea I had and finish it, instead of starting again if I felt it was going wrong! Otherwise no doubt I’d have restarted drawings numerous times and never actually finished anything. Proud to say I somehow actually managed to stick with the challenge all the way through, which I was quite surprised about!

This was day one. It was based on one of those Fisher Price pop-up Jack in the Box clowns you used to get as a child. 🤡🤡

My first Inktober!
The first nine drawings, all together.

I wasn’t all that pleased with any of the first nine I drew, except for the dolphins! And the ninth one itself turned out particularly odd and freaked me out a bit. The first few days it was really hard to post the drawings up on Instagram as it felt a bit weird with everybody seeing them.

Dolphins on day seven

I feel like the next lot came out slightly better. In particular I was quite happy with this one I did of the Dave Clark Five. Took me ages to do all that cross hatching though.

Koalas and Kangaroos

The koalas and kangaroos picture on day 13 was based on an old postcard I found in a charity shop where a kangaroo had been really badly superimposed next to some koalas.

The next nine!

The tooth on day 18 was to celebrate the end of five months of ongoing root canal treatment! Hooray!

By the 3rd set I feel like I’d got on a bit of a roll. Day 22 was a picture of Big Daddy, based on the 1983 annual which I found on the bookshelf when searching for inspiration.

Big Daddy, 1983

Here are the third set together. The good thing about doing Inktober was that you never knew where each day would take you! I can’t even remember what prompted me to draw Bruce Lee, Mary Hopkin or Ed Sheeran. However the fish were inspired by a trip to Hull and the Alan Boyson BHS Mural.

Another nine Inktobers.

This dog picture is actually just a drawing of two dog ornaments, side by side with an inpirational quote around them.

Day 25, inspirational dogs.

Here are the last few…

Last of the Inktoberz. Until next year (maybe)

I managed to stick to my rule of completing the first thing I drew until the last day when I felt extremely uninspired and ended up drawing a picture of the Pope which was particularly bad. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it and after that I didn’t get the pens out again until November 5th when I had a strong urge to draw Alvin Stardust. I must say I’m glad I waited as I think Alvin turned out to be my best work.

Alvin Stardust, and my final Inktober.

Ps. Check out the Alvin Stardust wikipedia page. It will blow your mind when you find out that Alvin wasn’t even the original Alvin.

Anyway, now it’s over I do feel glad I joined in on Inktober. It was quite stressful at times trying to keep up with it, and I hated it for the first week, but it’s the most drawing I’ve done in ages and I’m going to do some more soon I think.

Check out all the pictures individually, as they happened, over on my Instagram >>> Magic Town Midway


The Lexicon and Bracknell Underpass Art

At the start of October we went down south for a few days to see our friends Anna & Keith and to check out Bracknell’s newly unveiled town centre.

Anna, Keith & Rob with a wooden dolphin in Bracknell

We’ve been to Bracknell loads of times but only to the town centre once, and it’s changed beyond all recognition since then!

Our first/last trip to have a look round was on a rainy Sunday afternoon in November 2014, it seemed particularly dreary with hardly anyone around, and most of the old town centre having already been demolished. I love old shopping precincts though and despite the fact it was so bleak, there was something I really liked about Charles Square.

Charles Square, Bracknell, 2014
Dreary Sunday in Bracknell, October 2014
Bracknell, 2014

One of the things I liked most was the fibreglass mural by William Mitchell, above an empty shop in Charles Square. It was commissioned in 1974 for the 25th anniversary of Bracknell becoming a ‘new town’ after the war. I was worried they’d get rid of it as part of the redevelopment but am pleased to hear it’s been save and will be on permanent display on the centre of a roundabout in the town centre! Coincidentally, there is also a William Mitchell mural in Sheffield which I love. The Sheffield one is made from concrete. It would be such a shame to lose these things.

Mural by William Mitchell, 1974. It shows the history of Bracknell.

Read more about the work of William Mitchell here –

More photos I took on our last visit, on my Flickr page – ‘One hour in Bracknell, November 2014‘.

The new centre is called The Lexicon. It opened at the start of September. I wasn’t sure what to expect as despite the fact I can tell places are run down and past their best, I’m never keen on change when it comes to town centre redevelopments. I must say though, I love it! It looks great, and there are so many good shops, plus a food market on the day we went. Think I could easily spend a whole day looking round and spending up! It’s hard to believe this is the same place as the photos above. I couldn’t relate the new places to the old at all (even when they were pointed out to me) and I was completely disoriented!

The Lexicon, October 2017
Catholic Church of St. Joseph – I love the design of this building.
Cakes at the food market. I really wanted some Pecan Pie but I’d already had a piece of carrot cake in Marks & Spencer.
Pipe installation display thing in the shopping centre.

There are still a few glimpses of the old Bracknell here and there! I particularly like the library, and the lettering on the side of the Royal Legion building.

A few glimpses of old Bracknell

One of my other favourite things is all the decorated underpasses you get to walk through on the way to town. Some of them are simple and others are ornate. The more ornate the better in my view!

Bracknell Underpass
Seasonal Bracknell scenes, pre Lexicon.

Apparently there are 76 underpasses in total so I think we only saw a small selection! Here are a few faves…

So random, these ones are brightly painted tiles.
The kid with the cross face! LOL! And the woman with the beach ball.
Rob with the girls

I’m not sure on who the artists are, or the age of the murals. They must have taken ages to do though.

Great cattle scenes, these ones are painted, I really like them!
Weirdness. Two girls in a flowerbed in their swimming costumes.
Walking through…

One of the underpasses focused on communication through the ages..

The sun shining in on this scene
Jungle underpass! Love the lion and the parrot. The close up shows what the little mosaic tiles look like. They’re textured.
Anna and Rob with a cowboy and kids. Very bizarre. The more you look at it the more fantastic it is!!
Classic underpass view

We got the train back in the evening.. I love this mural above the station entrance. Art is everywhere!

Bracknell Station entrance and old-fashioned train mural

If you ever go to Bracknell, make sure you check out some of the underpass art, I feel it’s one of the towns finest features!


Vintage Greeting Cards – Charity Shop Find!

A few weeks back I found a collection of old greeting cards for sale at St. Luke’s vintage shop at Broomhill (one of my fave charity shops btw). Anyway, I collect vintage cards so it was lucky I found them! This is just a few of them…

Vintage greeting cards

There were about 30 in the collection, some were unused but the majority were addressed to a couple called Dave and Stella. There are birthday cards, engagement cards, wedding and new home cards. Some of the 21st cards are Dave’s, and some are Stella’s.

Vintage 21st Birthday Cards

I think they must have married very young (by todays standards at least) as there is a ‘Happy 21st Birthday to my Wife’ card from Dave to Stella. It’s a big padded one in a box! Cute or what!? I can’t imagine 21 year olds choosing cards like this anymore…

Happy Birthday to my dear Wife

I’m guessing all the cards are 60s, it’s difficult putting a date on them though because some of them are so quaint with sparkles & foiling that they look almost more like a 50s style. And a few of them seem a bit 70s to me. However, looking through them I feel they must all have been sent within a couple of years of each other and therefore there’s no way they can span over three decades! Any ideas? Wish people would date their cards so I don’t have this problem!

I love these pretty ones with glitter and gold foil keys. A lot of them are padded. You never see a good padded card these days do you? The ‘Happy Birthday Greetings’ bit on the one at the bottom is padded. The one on the left also has pink ribbon on the key. All these little touches seem to make the cards of yesteryear really luxurious somehow.

Key of the door

Really love the wording inside this next one, plus the inscription from Stella’s Nan and Grandfather!! So old fashioned with the cigarette! Probably be a vape fag these days, if that’s what you call them. (That’s what I call them).

21st Birthday Card complete with real cigarette. No vaping. Just pure nicotine like a proper young man.

An illustrated one. I’m not really keen on the illustration style, but it’s fun and very of its time I suppose! Weird how it has the garish little cartoons, but also a classic scalloped gold border and script. It’s quite big too.

Illustrated card with gold scalloped edging

This next one is one of my favourites. It’s got foil horseshoes and held it’s held together with ribbon.

Large 21st Birthday Card with beads, horseshoes and a key.

On to Dave & Stella’s engagement cards now. They’re all really pretty and floral and the pink one with two hearts is padded. The middle bottom one with the rose is like a pillow!

Engagement Card selection

Quaint and delightful wedding cards, all in a similar style with wedding bells and horseshoes of course. The one in the centre on the bottom row is photographic and shiny, and I like it best because it’s different. Seems a bit ahead of its time compared to the others.

Vintage Wedding Cards

I really love this fab pop-up card, it’s my favourite one out of all of them.  I would be so happy if someone gave me this on my wedding day!

Congratulations on your wedding.

The way it says ‘Here’s to years of Happy Sledding’ makes me laugh! So quaint and lovely. Get ready for the inside…

Pop-up card! Look at them on their sleigh!

I feel like pop-up cards need to make a come back! Bet they’d be ridiculously expensive to manufacture though.

Lastly, here are a couple of New Home cards. I assume Dave and Stella went about things in the ‘proper’ manner and did not cohabit until married. Shock horror if they did, tut tut. The weather house card is so nice with the funny little picture inside, I love everything about it.

New Home Cards – ‘Set Fair’

I think if this last one was a card it would be my overall favourite, but it’s actually an envelope! It’s pretty much the best envelope I’ve ever seen though! The illustration and typography are spot on. What fun, eh?!

Humour! From GUESS WHO!? We’ll never know I suppose, but whoever filled in the comments was obviously a bit of a card! LOL – gerrit?

I love finding collections of cards such as these, but it does make me think of Dave and Stella and wonder how their lives panned out, and why their cards all ended up in a charity shop. Best not to think about it too much, but I do hope they’re still out there somewhere, still happily sledding.

Aren’t old cards just the best? Anyone else collect them?